Immigration has been a hot button issue for some time now. We currently have around 11 million undocumented immigrants residing within the confines of our boarders. Most of us remember the famous finger wag of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer toward President Obama as he exited Air Force One. Brewer has been in the forefront of this issue touting ideas such as self deportation and stronger border patrol. Her state of Arizona has also implemented strong anti-immigration laws which include people having to provide proof of citizenship if they are pulled over by law enforcement in a routine traffic stop.
Many believe that illegal immigration has hurt the already ailing work force in our great nation because they are willing to work for lower wages and as some believe, take away jobs from American citizens. During the recent talks in Washington regarding immigration reform, legislators including President Obama have discussed a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented Americans. Some, such as Republican congressman Raul Labrador who himself is a Hispanic-American opposes this notion because it may cause more undocumented individuals to flood into our country. With all the talk lately about reducing our enormous deficit, to me, it would make sense to create a path to citizenship for these undocumented immigrants because they could then be taxed. Businesses who have also cheated the system are getting away with cheap labor and paying laborers under the table to avoid taxation. This could create more revenue in tax dollars for good ole' Uncle Sam if these individuals were to become tax paying citizens.
President Obama on Tuesday spoke before an audience in Las Vegas about his plans for immigration reform. His ideas outlined are almost identical to a speech he gave in 2011 in El Paso, Texas. He wants to create a path for citizenship, institute background checks, continual border protection and go after businesses who cheat the system by hiring illegal immigrants for cheap labor.
On Monday, a group of eight senators from both parties beat Obama to the punch and outlined their ideas for immigration reform. They were able to compromise by allowing for stronger border protection and by agreeing for an easier path to citizenship. This is a sign that legislation can get moving again but republicans are still rolling in the wake of defeat from the November elections where they lost over half of the Hispanic vote to democrats. They are beginning to realize how vital and important the Hispanic vote is. Republicans disconnected with women as well and they are now coming to terms with the fact that they need to change their ways if they want to take back the executive in 2016.
By pushing away immigration we are pushing away new innovators that could call the United States home. The United States is very difficult place in which to obtain a working visa currently so entrepreneurs and innovators are forced to go to other countries rather than ours. We should be welcoming new ideas as we once did. Canada is a prime example of a country that has adopted immigration to benefit their own economy. They have welcomed migrant and skilled workers who have had immense impacts on their economy. By attracting skilled workers for whom they do not have to spend money or time training through school, they are able to profit greatly from the work they offer. Canada has also practiced something referred to as poaching human capital. They have sought out professionals such as doctors, which some provinces (Alberta specifically) have shortages and attract them to come and practice within their borders. They lured doctors from South Africa with private jets and expensive hotel resorts to call Canada home. Canada has found a way to compete in the 21st Century with global giants such as the United States through immigration.
The United States needs a comprehensive, bipartisan solution to its immigration problem. Immigration should not be viewed as a problem but rather an opportunity. People all over the world dream of coming to the United States and many of them have studied in our universities or given us great business ideas and we have repaid them by sending them away to practice their ideas in other countries. I am hopeful that our legislators can come to an agreement to make our already great nation even better by instituting comprehensive immigration reform.